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AS and A Level: Crime & Deviance

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Top five crime and deviance theoretical viewpoints

  1. 1 Functionalism – small amounts of crime are inevitable and in fact crime has some functions for society (Durkheim); higher amounts of crime and deviance may be the result of anomie (Durkheim) or strain (Merton).
  2. 2 Marxism – the working class DO NOT necessarily commit more crime than the ruling class; corporate crime and white collar crime are underrepresented in crime figures (Croall); the crimes the working class carry out can be justified as part of a political struggle against capitalism (Box).
  3. 3 Left Realism – crime in working class areas should be considered carefully as the working class are over represented as victims; crime occurs if people suffer relative deprivation, marginalization (social, political and economic) and live in areas with deviant subcultures (Lea and Young).
  4. 4 Right Realism – People carry out crimes when the benefits outweigh the costs (Clarke); Single parent families often produce criminal or deviant offspring (Murray); zero tolerance policing would improve crime rates (Wilson).
  5. 5 Feminism – women are often excluded and ignored in discussions about crime (Heidensohn); women are often victims of crime and that issue needs consideration (Smart); women are increasingly committing crime.

  • Marked by Teachers essays 4
  1. Marked by a teacher

    The chivalry thesis claims that women will be treated more leniently for committing certain crimes, generally shoplifting is often associated more with females than males, but the statistics suggest that males commit many more acts of theft than women, an

    4 star(s)

    This could be because the statistics of crime are so male dominated, a police officer may not think convicting a woman of petty theft is worth it, when there may be, in his opinion, a man selling drugs elsewhere, it may not be worth it in his view. Similarly, men are more likely to be convicted of theft because the criminal justice system seemingly victimises males over females, while it is probably more likely that males are more likely to commit crime than females, the gap between the crime rates between gender may not be as large as first assumed.

    • Word count: 1144
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the Usefulness of Official Crime Statistics to a Sociological Understanding of Crime

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    Theft of a vehicle has a high incidence of this crime being reported and recorded because in order for a claim for insurance to be processed it has to be reported to and recorded by the police. The same applies to a burglary with loss whereas often victims of vandalism or assault will not report the crime either because of a mistrust of the police or feel that the police will not see it as serious enough to record it.

    • Word count: 2066
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Asses the arguments and evidence which suggest women commit much less crime than men

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    Can sociological situations affect the crime committed by gender? If so, how and why? Frances Heidensohn (1985), a famous feminist, believes that women do commit less crime than men. She looked at women and social control, saying that it was difficult for women to commit a crime in a male dominant society; a patriarchal society. She believed that women spend all their time in housework and do not have enough time to get involved in crime. If women tried to get out, the 'man' of the house would force them to stay in.

    • Word count: 2481
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluate the Functionalist explanations of Deviance.

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    He claimed that a limited amount of crime was necessary for any society. Durkheim argued that as societies develop and grow, the collective conscience, or shared values, which guide our actions and provide boundaries, are weakened. Thus, as societies become more complex the boundaries become unclear, and also change over time. It is here that a limited amount of crime has its place. Durkheim discussed three elements of the positive aspect of crime: 1. Reaffirming boundaries - every time a person breaks the law and is taken to court, the resulting court ceremony and publicity in the media, publicly reaffirms the existing values.

    • Word count: 1102

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Assess the usefulness of consensus theories for an understanding of crime and deviance in contemporary society.

    "Also a lot of the research carried out on this topic was carried out in the early 19th century therefore research into this topic was very androcentric. As a result it ignores the fact that women also commit crimes which in contemporary society is higher than it was when Merton and Cohen were carrying out their research. Feminists would argue this point along with the point that they ignore the crimes commited by males such as domestic violence, such as sexual abuse, however, Davis' argument that the legalisation of prostitution could hinder domestic violence within the family. In conclusion, although consensus theories are outdated some of the points argued could help develop a more in depth understanding of crime and deviance within contemporary society."

  • Assess the view that ethnic differences in crime rates are the result of the ways in which the criminal justice system operates.

    "As we have seen, official statistics on the criminal justice process show differences between ethnic group. The question is therefore how we explain these patterns. There are two main explanations for ethnic differences in the statistics; Left realisms and the Neo-Marxism. The left realists see the statistics represent real differences in rates of offending. Whereas the Neo-Marxists see the statistics are a social construct resulting from racist labelling and discrimination in the criminal rates of offending. From a left realist perspective, the justice system does not necessarily act on the differences of ethnic minorities but demonstrates a true representation of the rates in offending. On the other hand from a Neo-Marxists view the statistics is just a myth of the social construct and they see that is what the justice system acts on. To an extent, the left realist perspective seems to be valid as it is inane to believe that the ethnic minority community could be the fault of most crimes simply as a result of their race. However, it is also conceivable that their race, religion and ethnicity has a significant contribution ."

  • 'The world today is as furiously religious as ever it was and in some cases more so' to what extent is this statement supported.

    "The statement 'the world today is as furiously religious as ever it was and in some places more so', could be perceived as being true in that some cultures and continents still have religion and religious beliefs high on their agenda, but it could be argued that in European cultures especially, there is a decline in religious values and beliefs, statistics back up both sides at the argument, so it could just fall down to personal beliefs and opinion about the subject matter in hand."

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